D&D 5E Phandelver starting to show up in the wild. NewbieDM looks to be the first!

Scribe

Legend
How so? I'm curious.

Without writing a too long self indulgent post (that I am saving for later).

I looked at my companions from the very get go, I looked at how the game started, I looked at what was immediately going on around me in the game, and what a 'level 1' character was getting up to, and then I thought back to the stuff that was more formative for me when I was far younger, and then I compared it, because it had so many call backs, to BG1.

In BG1 your a kid going out and yeah if the dice hate you, you can die before you leave Candlekeep. Depending on your class, its actually not that unlikely at all. You kill some rats, you look for a sword, you get an antidote for a cow, if I remember correctly, you return someone's book, and if you are lucky you break into someone's jewels or steal something from the Inn. Your companions are basic, they are still classes, and fantasy races, but without the story is there really much going on with them?

Then, compare to BG3.

You are flying through the Hells, you have been kidnapped and tadpoled, and you are trying to survive while Fiends fight Mindflayers, and little brains scuttle around fighting Imps. Level 1.

Your companions? Well...without getting into spoilers, this isnt BG1 anymore. :D

Both are D&D, both are 'Baldurs Gate', and honestly I'm here for all the nostalgia and call backs at this point to the originals, but at this point, the idea that 'Its Level 1, you may die if you stub your toe.' just doesnt need to be what the game is anymore. Embrace the madness.

And give Martials interesting things to do.

I'll eventually, when I finish this game, finish this post in the spoiler thread but yeah, I'm here for the over the top at this point.

"Anyone seen the personification of Nature?" (Yeah, thats right, Gale is missing shoes.)

Looking.png
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Without writing a too long self indulgent post (that I am saving for later).

I looked at my companions from the very get go, I looked at how the game started, I looked at what was immediately going on around me in the game, and what a 'level 1' character was getting up to, and then I thought back to the stuff that was more formative for me when I was far younger, and then I compared it, because it had so many call backs, to BG1.

In BG1 your a kid going out and yeah if the dice hate you, you can die before you leave Candlekeep. Depending on your class, its actually not that unlikely at all. You kill some rats, you look for a sword, you get an antidote for a cow, if I remember correctly, you return someone's book, and if you are lucky you break into someone's jewels or steal something from the Inn. Your companions are basic, they are still classes, and fantasy races, but without the story is there really much going on with them?

Then, compare to BG3.

You are flying through the Hells, you have been kidnapped and tadpoled, and you are trying to survive while Fiends fight Mindflayers, and little brains scuttle around fighting Imps. Level 1.

Your companions? Well...without getting into spoilers, this isnt BG1 anymore. :D

Both are D&D, both are 'Baldurs Gate', and honestly I'm here for all the nostalgia and call backs at this point to the originals, but at this point, the idea that 'Its Level 1, you may die if you stub your toe.' just doesnt need to be what the game is anymore. Embrace the madness.

And give Martials interesting things to do.

I'll eventually, when I finish this game, finish this post in the spoiler thread but yeah, I'm here for the over the top at this point.

"Anyone seen the personification of Nature?" (Yeah, thats right, Gale is missing shoes.)

View attachment 293995
DCC RPG leans into this heavily. In some 0-level funnels you’re fighting reborn chaos lords and traveling to different planes. It gets more gonzo from there. Even if you don’t play the game, a lot of the modules are fantastic and worth checking out.
 

pukunui

Legend
So your defense is that the starter set was intended to lie to new players about what was available to play?
Wow. OK. That's a strong response. I doubt it was anyone's intention to lie.

The starter set came out before the core rulebooks, and the included rulebook is based on the free 5e basic rules, which only include those four 'classic' races. If you use the starter set as a starter set, your players won't have access to any other races. Yeah, sure, run it with the full 5e rules and maybe it's a bit too mundane ... but that's super-easy to fix. I'm not sure why it's such a big deal for some folks.
 

Retros_x

Adventurer
Saying a starter set isn’t fantastical enough is like criticising it for not having enough use for high level play!
Strongly disagree to that. High level play is gameplay/mechanics, fantastical elements are setting/theme. Starter set should definitely dont have high level elements, but for gods sake, its a fantasy rpgs. Show your newbies something of it. A starter set is supposed to make a good first impression on newbies, how on earth is it a good first impression of a fantasy rpg to have a lame hook to make them travel to a boring pseudo european medieval town with nothing special about it. I am not talking about completely weird stuff, but come on, Phandalin has almost only human NPCs without any personality, not a SINGLE special thing to discover in the town, its just humans living in wooden houses with nothing to say. The ruins of the phandelver pact that are in the description of the town have no relevance at all. And even if you want to play a "realistic medieval RPG", Phandalin still is boring as hell, because nothing here to discover, no matter if its phantastical or not.

I already mentioned the other starter pack "Dragons of Stormwreck Isle", that is a starter pack WITH fantastic elements, so already a prove that "starter set" doesn't mean "no ´fantasy".
 
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Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I don't know if anyone can speak to this, but is this being marketed as a beginner adventure (more so than any other 1-12 adventure, I mean)?
 

Probably the most popular starting area in WoW is an abbey with a vineyard under siege from bandits.
That was once true, long, long ago. Humans haven't been the most popular race in WoW for like, a long time. Maybe 10 years? Or 15? Longer? I think it was in WotLK or Cataclysm that Blood Elves overtook them both as % of their side and literal hard numbers.

So that hasn't been true for a very long time. The only really "mundane" starting areas were the human, dwarf (and for a long time gnome), orc (and for a long time troll - though their replacement starting zone was mundane too) and tauren starting zones.

All other races with actual starting zones got pretty dramatic ones, albeit some were a lot "quieter" than others. As someone who has played way too much WoW please be aware I can make this case in painful detail but am refraining from doing so lol.

And for the last 3 years, by default everyone starts in Exile's Reach, which a pretty dramatic starting zone which fully introduces you to ideas in WoW in a way previous ones didn't (including a dungeon, boss fights, etc.) - experienced players can opt to pick the old zones still though.
In the very first WoW game I played (roughly 20 years after I started playing D&D) I was blown away by the tree people that walked around and guarded the starting location.
Indeed, the idea that the Night Elf starting zone is "mundane" is absolutely wild. You're in the branches of a World-Tree, with giant ents walking around, and witness to all sorts of magic. The human starting zone was genuinely mundane, but most were not (at least by the start of TBC, let alone later).

The most popular race, the Blood Elves, started in fantastical elven ruins, dealing with scary malfunctioning magic killbots, magic elementals, magic crack addicts (as it were), and so on, and really equally defies any designation as mundane.
 
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Jaeger

That someone better
High level play is gameplay/mechanics, fantastical elements are setting/theme. Starter set should definitely dont have high level elements, but for gods sake, its a fantasy rpgs. Show your newbies something of it. A starter set is supposed to make a good first impression on newbies, how on earth is it a good first impression of a fantasy rpg to have a lame hook to make them travel to a boring pseudo european medieval town with nothing special about it.

The most visible pseudo medieval Fantasy IP's newbies* are likely to be familiar with:

Lord of the Rings
Game of Thrones

A good first impression is giving people what they expect.

And a pseudo european medieval town fits the bill quite nicely.

*If they play video games all bets are off.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don't know if anyone can speak to this, but is this being marketed as a beginner adventure (more so than any other 1-12 adventure, I mean)?
Nope, it is being marketed as the September story book, same as in previous years. Theybare pushing the weird stuff in the back half more than the original Phandelver stuff, with some nostalgia nods to the classic module.
 


TheSword

Legend
Strongly disagree to that. High level play is gameplay/mechanics, fantastical elements are setting/theme. Starter set should definitely dont have high level elements, but for gods sake, its a fantasy rpgs. Show your newbies something of it. A starter set is supposed to make a good first impression on newbies, how on earth is it a good first impression of a fantasy rpg to have a lame hook to make them travel to a boring pseudo european medieval town with nothing special about it. I am not talking about completely weird stuff, but come on, Phandalin has almost only human NPCs without any personality, not a SINGLE special thing to discover in the town, its just humans living in wooden houses with nothing to say. The ruins of the phandelver pact that are in the description of the town have no relevance at all. And even if you want to play a "realistic medieval RPG", Phandalin still is boring as hell, because nothing here to discover, no matter if its phantastical or not.

I already mentioned the other starter pack "Dragons of Stormwreck Isle", that is a starter pack WITH fantastic elements, so already a prove that "starter set" doesn't mean "no ´fantasy".
Cool, play as you like.

It was overwhelming the most highly regarded, most completed, and most appreciated campaign 5e have released. Hard to find it as bleak as you suggest. Maybe everyone is wrong though and it really is dull. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

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